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Saab enters new era

AFP/The Local · 26 Jan 2010, 20:17

Published: 26 Jan 2010 17:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Jan 2010 20:17 GMT+01:00

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As part of the agreement, Spyker will form a new company, Saab Spyker Automobiles, which will carry the Saab nameplate forward.

GM officials said the deal calls for Spyker to pay $74 million in cash and allow GM to retain redeemable preferred shares worth an estimated $326 million.

Assuming quick action, the transaction is expected to close in mid-February, according to GM, which said that it would suspend its previously announced wind down activities at Saab.

"Today's announcement is great news for Saab employees, dealers and suppliers, great news for millions of Saab customers and fans worldwide and great news for GM," GM vice president for corporate planning and alliances John Smith said.

"General Motors, Spyker Cars and the Swedish government worked very hard

and creatively for a deal that would secure a sustainable future for this unique and iconic brand, and we're all happy for the positive outcome."

Spyker said the terms call for an installment of $50 million by the expected closing date of February 15th and 24 million to be paid on July 15th.

"We are very much looking forward to being part of the next chapter in Saab's illustrious history," said Spyker chief executive Victor Muller.

"Saab is an iconic brand that we are honored to shepherd. We are delighted to have secured the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of loyal Saab employees, suppliers and dealers and to have given reassurance to the 1.5 million Saab drivers and enthusiasts around the world."

Sweden will guarantee a loan of €400 million ($563 million) from the European Investment Bank to support the transaction, Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson said in Stockholm.

"Throughout the negotiations, GM has always had the hope to find a solution for Saab that would avoid a wind down of the brand," said Nick Reilly, president of GM Europe.

"We've worked with many parties over the past year, including governments and investors, and I'm very pleased that we could come to such a good conclusion, one that preserves jobs in Sweden and elsewhere. GM will continue to support Saab and Spyker on their way forward."

The announcement appears to end a series of on-again, off-again deals for the lengendary Swedish automaker, amid intense fears of job losses in the country.

In December, GM nixed a proposed deal with Spyker following the withdrawal of a bid from Swedish sportscar maker Koenigsegg Group AB with Chinese backing.

GM has been undergoing a massive restructuring since emerging from bankruptcy with support from the US and Canadian governments last year. The company has decided to end its Saturn and Pontiac brands in the United States and has reached a deal to sell its Hummer brand to a Chinese buyer.

GM also agreed to sell some Saab assets to China's Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co.

Story continues below…

Saab employs some 3,400 people in Sweden and sold just over 93,000 cars worldwide in 2008.

Up to an estimated 15,000 jobs were seen as at risk in a Saab shutdown, including those of suppliers and subcontractors. A Saab liquidation also could impact Sweden's other carmaker Volvo, owned by US-based Ford Motor Co.

Under GM's stewardship spanning almost two decades, Saab rarely posted a profit and last year lost 3.0 billion kronor, the equivalent of €241 million, or $341 million at the time.

GM in November reversed plans to sell its European Opel/Vauxhall division and to restructure those operations on its own. Analysts noted that Opel, unlike Saab, is integrated into GM's global operations.

Saab's history as an automaker dates back to the 1940s, when the first cars were produced by the Swedish aircraft maker Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget or SAAB. GM acquired Saab Automobile in 1990.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:48 January 26, 2010 by mikmak
Great stuff, the SAAB/Spyker combo is rational since they are both niche brands. Question is, will SAAB be able to survive without the expertise of a mass market car manufacturer, Spyker doesn't seem to have any experience in "mass production" (even at the low volumes SAAB are used to).
17:48 January 26, 2010 by KingArthur
Indeed, Great nieuws.

Van harte jongens, Goed gedaan .)

A lot of People will be happy now, and NO Spyker will not move the Factory to Belgium. That would be the stupidest thing EVER

//Kingy the Dutchman :)
17:52 January 26, 2010 by Bleeker
Excellent. Congratulations Spyker.

Let us all support this European project.

My next car will be a Saab (again).
17:59 January 26, 2010 by Glempa
It is good that jobs have been saved, but for how long? Rover cars were saved by a management buyout but despite having a huge £500m loan from BMW, they still went bust a few years later. To develop new cars in today's Market you need huge resources and a lot of money. Saab has not made a profit for years as an independent car maker and under GM, why should it be different now?
18:05 January 26, 2010 by Rick Methven

"Van harte jongens, Goed gedaan "


18:06 January 26, 2010 by mikmak

The reported profits of SAAB during GM ownership have been questioned. There are clear reasons why GM would shuffle losses to SAAB for e.g. tax reasons, see for example http://www.saabsunited.com/2009/03/di-article.html
18:38 January 26, 2010 by Thijs
Good news! I'm not sure whether it will be succes, but let's hope the best!
19:04 January 26, 2010 by derek hughes-beddows
where does one watch the press conference ?
19:23 January 26, 2010 by Newyork-Växjö
Thanks to SPYKER!

At least they have helped SAAB and did not let it go down. Now as European citizen we need to SHOW our support to SAAB and start buying their cars.
19:35 January 26, 2010 by Malmoman
I am really happy about this....

I hope it works out. I owed two SAAB's. One pre-GM and one post GM. They were both NIGHTMARES. They need to work on the quality issues. They were always over engineered. Mechanics hated working on them.

I do wish the best for the people of Trollhättan and I hope that it stays in Sweden.

While I am not sure Spyker is a better owner at least Swede's will not lose there jobs!
19:47 January 26, 2010 by Rick Methven

"One pre-GM and one post GM. They were both NIGHTMARES"

Must have both been 'Monday morning cars!! One of my 10 SAABS was like that
19:48 January 26, 2010 by High Priestess Kang - Slut
Hooray! Hooray!
19:49 January 26, 2010 by saabdude

19:57 January 26, 2010 by justanotherexpat
The owner of Spyker has a great reputation and a good pedigree in business. Saab won't be anything like his sports car plaything - it'll be a serious business. Great news!
19:58 January 26, 2010 by StockholmSam
Prediction: This will fall through by February as the political parties turn it into a fighting point for voter support in the run up to the election. You heard it here first.
19:59 January 26, 2010 by nielsl
Ik ben verbaasd, maar super dit!

Just watched the NL news, everyone is amazed about this.

I think it's great, I love both car brands.

I think technologically its a good combination. I hope they can get some experts from bigger car companies to run all this. Well.. they can always get some people from DAF ;-)
20:05 January 26, 2010 by cwb
Looks like GM did not want to be known as the ANTICHRIST.
20:11 January 26, 2010 by AlbionKyle
Yeah! Swedish unions should be happy that, now Dutch maker can hemorrhaging money! It is not always fair that American car maker buys lousy European car brand.

I've said it before, Swedish car can't compete Japanese car's quality and price nor German car's performance. It often is the case that more expensive than German and lousy build quality...
20:30 January 26, 2010 by mikmak

While I don't expect that you are going to absorb this here is a link to a customer satisfaction survey made by SKI regarding car ownership.


As you point out Toyota and BMW score very well in this index, however Volvo and SAAB score at, or above, many of the other "European" and international manufacturers like Mercedes, Ford and VW.
20:32 January 26, 2010 by franny66
Now in 5 years when this fails and government has pay for 40 million euro land the dutch will become the bad guys like the yanks....as i keep staying do no business with the swedes its just helping them and nobody else..the dutch will lose in this deal as well government
20:32 January 26, 2010 by Scotsaab
Fantastic news - let's hope it sticks! Things were begining to look decidely sticky this afternoon.

Saab is a great marque with some outstanding designs in its paswt. GM's reign did little to advance the breed but perhaps we can now look forward to seeing great Saab cars once again.

Great news. Look forward to being able to visit my Saab dealer and order a proper Saab car.
20:37 January 26, 2010 by mikmak

Umm, who is guaranteeing the EIB loan for SAAB again, who's taking the risk here?
20:43 January 26, 2010 by Rick Methven

Boy you are one persistent troll.

Considering that you are to you to drive a car and to stupid the learn, why don't you just run away like a nice little troll
21:37 January 26, 2010 by Tiddler
If it's such a great business then why does anybody need loan guarantees?

Scared of losing money, you bet, of course, who gives a f*** if the 4bn sek loss is borne by the taxpaying mugs.
21:46 January 26, 2010 by Nemesis
This is brilliant news.

I hope it is sucessful.
21:51 January 26, 2010 by Great Scott
I expect a lot of critics in response to this, but I must say that it is great news that the workers of Saab get to keep their jobs.

However the government minister responsible for business affairs said "that they would not buy Saab or put tax payer's money at risk". This agreement was made possible after the government agreed to guarantee the EIB loan thus putting tax payer's money at risk. This is a change in direction and making the government minister responsible for business affairs incompetent, will she now resign her position.
22:21 January 26, 2010 by Scotsaab
@ Great Scott

I take your point but every car maker in the world depends on taxpayers' money to one extent or another at some time in its life. How do you think the great Chinese motor industry got going - not from the profits of producing rice! Car maunufacturing, like aviation, is technologically expensive and hardly an attractive start up proposition for investors.

Without US government backing GM would have sunk from sight a long time ago. Thank goodness for far-sighted public investment. It may have a track record of being misplaced from time to time, like in Rover, but rather have it than not. What's money for if not for sucuring jobs, driving forward technology and retaining national or regional manufacturering expertise?
22:22 January 26, 2010 by Tiddler
You looting parasites don't get it do you.

4bn sek given to them by a bank solely because it is underwritten by the taxpayers means jobs lost elsewhere. Ever heard of opportunity cost? It means that 4bn SEK lent to loss making Saab cannot be invested anywhere else. There will be a net loss to society.

Read Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged is a good start.

Businesses must stand on their own two feet, with minimal interference either from the government or the unions or any other looter.
22:48 January 26, 2010 by Scotsaab
@ Tiddler

Calm down. It's really not your money - the rest of us have a stake in it too. I also have to support my business without taxpayers' help - so what? You want a business, make sacrifices.

This is great news for Saab, the workers, the motor industry and everyone who depends on Saab and its sub-contractors for a living.
23:03 January 26, 2010 by texasgubbar
This is great! Hopefully Spyker/Saab can add some refreshing styles to the bland and boring US car market. There is already a dealership network so they are a step ahead of the likes of Renault.

I am not sure why auto companies such as Ford send their crap models to the US and keep the good ones out. (Mondeo)
23:08 January 26, 2010 by jack sprat
Before everyone starts dancing on the rooftops,..just a few figures.

Spyker sold 43 cars in 2008 and lost 35 million dollars in the process.

A staggering loss of over 800,000 dollars per car!

Projected 2009 figures appeared to be similar.

It has not made a single profit in its 6 years existance!

Saab lost 412 million dollars in 2008 and has not made a profit since 2001.

Based on these figures the Govt loan or guarantee would barely cover 14 months combined losses.

Suppose we can all hope and pray for a miracle?

Just for the record,I have a very high regard for the Saab brand and used to own a pre GM model, which was a really good motor in all respects.
23:10 January 26, 2010 by zircon
Koenigsegg lost on a good deal.
23:13 January 26, 2010 by texasgubbar
"Businesses must stand on their own two feet, with minimal interference either from the government or the unions or any other looter. "

Hmmm like GM, Chrysler, Boeing? Get real, all government provide breaks and favors for industries. Can you say BAILOUT...

Ayn Rand is a neocon joke...
23:14 January 26, 2010 by Tiddler

and that is in a period of peak credit, peak employment and peak consumerism.

This plan is peak stupidity.

If government support is so great then the government should give shovels to all of the unemployed and ask half of them to dig holes and the other half to fill them back in again.

Hey presto, full employment and a thriving economy, but wait, hang on, who will pay the wages?

Read Mises, Hayek, Steve Keen, Mish Shedock, Karl Denninger and anybody from the Austrian school of economics, Mises quote below.

There is no means of avoiding a final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as the final and total catastrophe of the currency involved.
23:25 January 26, 2010 by Michael84
I prayed for that!
23:59 January 26, 2010 by Twiceshy
Great news for SAAB employees, (probably) shitty news for other Swedish taxpayers.

Car companies are in a world of hurt, and will probably continue to be in the next few years. If Saab goes under (IMO it's likely), the Swedish taxpayers will bear the cost.

If on the other hand Saab does well, Spyker will profit, and the taxpayer will get, I guess, nothing.

I'll let you do the math on this one.
00:17 January 27, 2010 by randyt
When is keeping good paying jobs in your country not a good deal? Is it better to let them go to China where the labor rate is 65 American cents per hour?

As for the Toyota fans, it may be time to buy a Saab:

"Toyota Suspends Sales of Recalled Vehicles " - that be 2.3 million of their cars.


I had to buy a truck a few years ago to pull a 29' travel trailer. I looked at the full sized Toyota and drove it twice. I thought I was in a boat, I should known boat rides sepending 20 plus years in the Navy.
00:18 January 27, 2010 by Malmoman
Ahhh the science of economics. I am afraid that Tiddler is right. Bailouts on companies with a prognosis like SAAB rarely end well. There are some valid points regarding start-up costs for heavy industry and whether it is prudent to abandon certain heavy industries. I am not sure SAAB fits into this.

The thing is, do you really, in your heart of hearts, think this is a good match?

Texasgubbar brought up Boeing and GM. Let us not forget that they all had a great deal of turnover when they took government loans. Besides this is hardly an American phenomena (Airbus, Renault, and just about every farmer on both sides of the ocean!). Any economist worth his salt will agree that European intervention was more common in the last 50 years (outside of farming).

Do you see a SAAB Renaissance any time soon. If not soon, how long? How long can SPYKER carry SAAB? How is SAABs turnover? How are the fundamentals?

I really wish the best for SAAB and I would love to buy one. Seriously though how nice is that new MONDEO? Man I thought I was sitting in a Mercedes!
00:53 January 27, 2010 by jack sprat
SPYKER carry SAAB..?

You having a laugh.

Their performance to date is far worse than that of SAAB.

Unless I'm missing something, it appears they are the ones most in need of bailing out.

Looks very much like the blind leading the blind,.... over the abyss.
00:56 January 27, 2010 by Twiceshy
The very fact that Spyker was the only interested company speaks volumes.

I hope Saab succeeds, but if they fail they could fail spectacularly. Saab sales are very much down year on year. Part of this is due to the economy, but a big part is also due to the uncertainty about Saab's future. Now we just have to find out how much all of this damaged the brand, which was already unprofitable without these troubles.
01:14 January 27, 2010 by repat_xpat
This is great news. I've very happy for my friends in Trollhattan and all the other workers at SAAB. Looks like I was wrong that Spyker was only out there to get free publicity for their brand. I did correctly state that GM would sell SAAB if they had a reasonable bid, apparently now they do. I hope the new 9-5 is part of the deal. It is a great car and will be a great start for the new company. I bet it could win the 2010 EU car of the year.

So, I've started the confession and repentance over past posts (wrong on Skyker). Who will join me? Any of those who swore they would never buy from GM again? Any of those who said GM wanted to shut down SAAB because they were afraid of future competition? Any one regret insulting their fellow bloggers?

@scottSAAB & Texas: Ford has never had a government bailout and posted a nice profit last quarter & GM would have failed (with SAAB) a little over a year ago.

@Michael84: I was with you, praying for SAAB and Trollhattan
01:33 January 27, 2010 by franny66
The rest of europe has to pay (via higher taxes) for this deal to keep arrogant swedes sailing boats in west Sweden under the summer months..the European investment bank is mainly EU owned. SAAB has only twice made a profit in its history since it German founders fled Nazi Germany and came to show the swedes how to build cars..and these Germans that came to Sweden where the second rate engineers...check it out..the EIB could spend money more wiser than that now!!!!
03:47 January 27, 2010 by millionmileman


Thanks to GM for selling, Saab Management, Jan Ake, Victor Muller, Spyker and all the enthusiasts, world wide who like the "Little Dutch Boy," stuck their thumbs in the Dyke, to hold back the impossible.

Let us not forget the Swedish Goverment, who arranged the EIB loan.

Thank you God.
06:36 January 27, 2010 by spy

Yep you were totally wrong on many counts in your recent posts... But who cares this is a great day for those connnected to Saab across the globe. Well done Saab and Spyker.
07:29 January 27, 2010 by Mina08
whats going to change, SAAB has been losing money for years, so how is Spyker going to make a diffrence, nobody has mentioned that what are they doing to make a profit and let bthis happen again.....?
07:58 January 27, 2010 by spy

The focus of the owners, the level of investment, the cars, the corporate culture, general morale... Need I go on?
09:12 January 27, 2010 by sthlmstdnt
This is great news! We won't see SAAB news anymore :)

I was about to think if these news portals and magazines had share in SAAB... This had become an even more important issue than anything else...
11:06 January 27, 2010 by Scotsaab

No, no regrets. Just glad Saab has a new owner and is free from GM interference and under investment. Your comment on Ford, like most of your other below the belt comments, was wrong. Ford have only just returned a small profit and have had state support many times over the years.

In any event Ford have an entirely different, and better, business model than GM. In fact anyone in the industry realises they are a far more sound company with a good international involvement.

They sold Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin and Volvo because they invested in them - something GM never did.
13:59 January 27, 2010 by back2sq1.com
I wonder what the cost to the tax payer is, if SAAB was forced to close just in A-kassa.

15,000 jobs (Inc suppliers) x 10,000Sek ish x a lot of months

This way helps the employee's the town the suppliers and the Swedish automotive business in general (inc Volvo (higher supplier volumes for one thing))

I Wish SAAB and all there Suppliers all the best for the future.


For tech oil jobs in Europe
20:57 January 27, 2010 by zeulf
Scott Saab Hope You and SPY buy lots of Shares in the New Saab, Show Your Support other than just Oral. Please tell us where Ford had "State support many times over the years" . they too had big Eyes and pockets and lost tons of money on their English Adventures, Lost Billions on Jag, Land Rover, Aston not to mention Volvo ,also shut some factories in the US.... Analysts might view that as a win.
23:58 January 27, 2010 by Scotsaab

My support for Saab goes back more than 30 years. The first new Saab that's smaller than the new 9-5 is already pencilled in for my wife - it's already in the planning.

And as you are continuing your pedantry sniping, don't expect me to lay out Ford's record. Go and look it up for yourself. Some of us have better things to do.
15:15 January 28, 2010 by spy

Although you were trying to be a smart arse you were right on one count - I did buy shares in Spyker NV last week and they have subsequently more than doubled. It seems that specualtors (and analysts) seem to think it is a good marriage.
19:21 January 28, 2010 by zeulf
Analist/ Anaylist the Engineering Dept had some bad words for You guys

If You can never Cite/report this Secret Info of Yours , Why print it in the First place? I'm just asking when, where, and how much? Should be easy enough. Was it in Germany, England ( My first choise), Canada???? Are you talking about Tax abbatments? Spy Why? To loose money with Spyker is just as bad as on the Lotto
21:33 January 28, 2010 by spy

Speak English man, you are making no sense whatsoever. Who mentined anything about secret info?? Speculation that Spyker was hunting Saab has been going on for weeks and was certainly no secret. And for your information, buying shrares in a company that is likely to be going through a merger or aquisition is a little more scientific than the lotto. But if you want to waste your money on the lotto then that's your business.
12:25 January 29, 2010 by Brave Heart
Its a great new! Hope both will go smooth in future na will be successful partners...
15:00 January 29, 2010 by morchad
Its great news. I'm happy for all the workers and enthusiasts alike and a big UP-YOURS to the nay sayers :-)

Of course the government will guarantee the money.... 4bn kr guarantee is nothing compared to lost tax revenue and and then paying unemployment for up to 15,000 people if SAAB were wound down .

This way everyone wins....albeit in the short term.
18:18 January 29, 2010 by zeulf
Spy are You now Speaking for Scottsaab? Air Talk? Old Sod I only hope SAAB can be rebuilt. But that is one long tough Road in todays Econ. Good Luck But it take more than just inspiring Talk to produce a good/great vehicle. lots of work goes into it. maybe a Sports model. Honda/Toyota build quality. SAAB has the Dealer network round the world,
19:07 January 29, 2010 by spy

I think it is time for your medication, now toddle off and go and see the ward nurse.
22:36 January 29, 2010 by zeulf
If at first You can not baffle them then try B.S

Share Trading in Spyker suspended. Well Smart Lad , What now brown cow?
21:53 January 30, 2010 by Love-refugee
To succeed SAAB needs to be supported by the Swedish people by buying a new SAAB. Other countries stay loyal to their car builders and domestic support underpins international success.

I have an ancient SAAB that has done more miles than the space shuttle, but is still going strong and starts first time, every time despite being left outside all year.

There are a lot of poor car brands in the world today, but SAAB is not one of them. I really hope people will put their money where their mouths are and support the new independent SAAB business. Good luck.
19:27 January 31, 2010 by Ashley748916
This isn't going to work, the figures JUST DONT ADD UP. The whole thing stinks of Teldar paper (look it up).
04:13 February 1, 2010 by Scotsaab

I logged on this morning after a busy three-day business trip abroad with the motor industry to investigate financial and other problems. We talked through some very complex matters and Saab was a key discussion subject on and off duty. You have to understand that nothing is what it seems on the surface. Trying to bully people into disclosing matters which are none of your business is one thing but imagining some kind of conspiracy behind a straightforward business deal is unbelievably niaive.

Spy is correct - maybe you should stop posting this nonsense. Some of us have a very real interest in seeing Saab, its staff and the industry flourish. You just seem to want to dismantle and undermine.

Get a life!
21:20 February 1, 2010 by zeulf
Boys It was just Your Zenophobic attitude which I thought Boorish. I realize I don't know it all. How about You? So You were off on a three day Boondoggle? When You "discuss complex matters", does that mean You Fixed anything? Talk is cheap and SAAB will not get fixed by " Complex discussions" alone. " You have to understand that nothing is what it seems on the surface" Thats a real lineshooter. as if You had some inside knowlage ,I neither want to dismantle or undermine Saab. but its more than just farts and faries to build a Vehicle. Immagination alone will not get this factory working again. Sad but true.

Best wishes are a waste of time Good Luck SAAB, and Good Bye Boys
02:44 February 2, 2010 by repat_xpat
ScottSAAB, Spy & Zeulf,

Please don't stop your posts. I enjoy them all. The best part is that you don't understand that you are exactly the same person, same inputs, & same insults. The only difference is the direction you face. Thanks for the good times.
20:41 February 2, 2010 by spy

I know you are sore because you told everyone who would listen for weeks that Saab would not be sold only to be proved wrong. Being left with egg on your face and looking like an uninformed fool was, I would guess, more than a touch embarrassing for you especially when you were so vociferous in your incorrect hypothesis. Is this the reason that you are now trying to score points in another way?

Anyway perhaps you could give us some more of your insightful business analysis as I haven't has a laugh for a while.
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Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
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